Fellowship: Rocca Dissertation Research
Fellowship Year(s): 2017
Project/Theme Title: The Pleasures of Pedagogy: Sex Education and Postcolonial Statecraft in Senegal
Abstracts: This project explores transformations in sex-education pedagogies in Senegal as a window into how youth sexuality and postcolonial African statecraft become newly imbricated amid expanding digital connectivity. Following implementation of the NGO-funded, state-implemented "Comprehensive Sexuality Education" (CSE), the figure of the "informed youth" as emblem of modernity coexists alongside the newer figure of the youth who embraces sexual desire and "knows their body" (xam sa yaram,) while keeping virginity intact. Preliminary research suggests that sex educators in state, NGO, and religious spheres use digital media to navigate the shifting line between moral and immoral pleasure-seeking. I will conduct comparative research on digital sex-education pedagogies among two designated "vulnerable populations" with different relationships to the Senegalese state: gay men and teen girls. State actors seek to reinforce an image of "Senegalese Exceptionalism" by transforming these vulnerable populations into modern sexual subjects, in part through digital sex-ed pedagogies. I explore how postcolonial statecraft shapes, and is shaped by, digitally-mediated relationships to youth bodies.